Why is it that certain formulas and phrases must be said precisely during the Mass? Why can there not be leeway in how a priest says the words of consecration, etc.?
Altering or varying the texts of the Sacred Liturgy is a liturgical abuse. In his book, Mass Confusion, Jimmy Akin explains that liturgical abuse “is not merely a misuse of dead text on a page in a lectionary or a sacramentary. It is an abuse of a living person, or rather, a group of living persons – the faithful who attend the liturgy – and it is an abuse of the sanctity of the Church, which requires its rituals to be performed in a certain way. This is because the faithful have a right to experience the liturgy as the Church has designed and intended it.”
The Church’s recent document on liturgical abuse, Redemptionis Sacramentum, states, “it is the right of all of Christ’s faithful that the Liturgy, and in particular the celebration of Holy Mass, should truly be as the Church wishes, according to her stipulations as prescribed in the liturgical books and in the other laws and norms. Likewise, the Catholic people have the right that the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass should be celebrated for them in an integral manner, according to the entire doctrine of the Church’s Magisterium. Finally, it is the Catholic community’s right that the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist should be carried out for it in such a manner that it truly stands out as a sacrament of unity, to the exclusion of all blemishes and actions that might engender divisions and factions in the Church.”